Believing in Jesus can cost you your life in these 50 countries
Christians suffer extreme persecution in 13 countries around the world, according to the 2024 World Persecution List published by the Open Doors organization, whose mission is to serve the faithful in nations where there is some type of threat against their lives or against their freedom to believe and worship Jesus.
The new list was published Jan. 16 and reflects a worsening situation for Christians worldwide.
For example, in 2023 there were 11 nations where there was extreme persecution of Christians. This year two more were added: Saudi Arabia and Syria.
The list is made up of 50 countries in total: 13 nations where Christians suffer extreme persecution and another 37 where persecution is severe.
In addition, the organization presented an additional watch list of countries where persecution could worsen: Russia, which ranked 62nd; Honduras, 66th; Venezuela, 67th; Ukraine, 77th; and Israel, 78th.
Open Doors noted that Nicaragua is the country that has risen the most on the list compared with its position last year (from 50th place in 2023 to 30th in 2024). Colombia also appears in the ranking, although it fell 12 places compared with 2023 (from 22 to 34).
In Colombia, the organization explained, "religious leaders continue to be harassed, extorted, and murdered in conflicts over territory between armed guerrillas, drug cartels, and other armed gangs."
"Christians and religious leaders who dare to speak publicly about corruption and violence are targeted. Followers of Jesus who work with young people or defend human and environmental rights are also targets of armed groups," the report stated.
Other countries in Hispanic America present in the ranking are Cuba (22nd place) and Mexico (37th place).
The 2024 World Persecution List is led by North Korea, where -- according to Open Doors -- being discovered as a Christian "is a death sentence." The North Korean communist regime sends followers of Jesus to forced labor camps, where they are killed outright or face torture that few survive.
"There are believed to be tens of thousands of Christians imprisoned in forced labor camps in the country," the organization noted. Additionally, "it is impossible for Christians to live freely in North Korea. Gathering to worship is unfeasible. "Those who risk meeting must do so in absolute secrecy and at enormous risk," the report said.
After North Korea on the Open Doors list is Somalia (2nd) and Libya (3rd). In total, 365 million Christians worldwide suffer persecution for their faith (1 in 7 worldwide).
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.